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  • Latest on Florida Keys Anchoring As of 12/1/11

    The report below from our very special Florida Keys correspondent, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd, sounds very hopeful. This is an important issue as all of the Florida Keys have been selected to be included in the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program. Sites selected for inclusion in this program have the power to regulate anchorage outside of mooring fields, but only after gaining input and approval from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC).
    The Cruisers’ Net, BARR (Boaters’ Anchoring Rights & Responsibilities) and Boat/US are working hard to insure SENSIBLE anchorage regulations are adopted by all participants in the Pilot Mooring Field Program.

    Last night’s meeting of the MPAC held here in Marathon, went exactly as planned. Prior to the meeting, I spoke with Senior Administrator Rich Jones via telephone and informed him though I would not be there personally, I had sent him a letter. He said he would read the letter at the meeting. Mariner’s Barr and SSECN both are very happy with how Monroe County has handled the responsibility of meeting the objectives of the Pilot Program. All with a carefully thought out plan so as not to displace or burden those in the cruising or local liveaboard communities. There are very caring people here, that is wholly apparent.
    We’re still quite a ways before the actual ordinance is written and approved by the BOCC, but we’re getting there. The areas discussed last night are Boca Chica and Sunset Cove, where longterm liveaboards have a community. The ordinance will NOT affect cruisers and transient boaters in those areas. This was a way to keep from displacing those who live there. It’s not really in the realm of the Pilot Program, per se, as there is no mooring field associated with either area. However, Monroe County could do it under protection of the marine sanctuary…so it’s all good. We’ve worked very hard here in Monroe County to protect all boaters and cruisers from over-regulation. No time limits and a way for those who live aboard and do not navigate to still feel welcome…but making them own up to responsibility. I applaud the efforts made to accommodate and represent ALL boaters who enjoy the waters of the Keys. – On another note, the vendors in KW Harbor can have their floating structures as long as they are licensed otherwise to do business. That’s a huge thing for those whose livelihood depends on such.
    Key West Harbor was never in the loop of the regulations that were outlined for Boca Chica Basin and Sunset Cove, Michael. It’s easy to get them confused. KW Harbor was only to have a buffer area around their mooring field, of which no one has any complaint. Most anchor on the other side of Fleming Key or off Wisteria. With Wisteria out of the picture, things look very good to stay the same in Key West Harbor.
    The “approval” is only for language to be drafted into an ordinance to be presented to the BOCC in January; now that everyone is on the same page with what the ordinances should state. The BOCC will then take a look at it with the Public’s input, and it could still need tweaking. Once it is approved by the BOCC it will then be submitted to the FWC. Still a long way to go before there are ordinances of any kind in place. No surprises here of any kind, this has been the path Monroe County has taken from day one. A good one: LESS IS MORE.
    Charmaine Smith Ladd (SSECN Special Correspondent & Representative)
    Executive Director, Mariner’s Barr (Boaters’ Anchoring Rights & Responsibilities)
    scmithladd@marinersbarr.org

  • Bumps in the Night in St. Marys Anchorage, St. Marys River off the AICW

    St. Marys River flows into the northern tip of Cumberland Sound and the path of the AICW, just north of Fernandina, FL, and serves as the coastal state line between Georgia and Florida. The town of St. Marys is an easy trip up the St. Marys River, departing the Waterway at flashing green marker #29, statute mile 713.

    We anchored off of st Marys town dock in march 2011. We chose a spot towards the south shore across the harbor from the main dock. After we anchored a guy in another boat came over and suggested we actually spend the night at the town dock as the current was so strong in that area. This sounded nice but I did not believe that was allowed by the town and chose to stay at anchor. The current through there was really unbelievable. Very fast. The sound of debris hitting the boat as it passed by and under us kept me up all night. Things going bump in the night. Our dingy has no engine. It rows very well but I did not dare leave the boat with it. I estimate 5 knots of current at times. The morning found wind and tide giving us a very slow drag to the west. I would not anchor here again. The downstream anchorage shown is where I would go. At least if you drag there is no one to hit and a soft landing. You need a motorized dingy though to safely get to and from town.
    Chris

    We tied up at the town dock [St. Marys town dock] last winter on our way down. It is really just a floating hunk of concrete, with no electricity or water. It says that there is a limit of 6 hours, but it does not appear to be enforced. We talked to people to stayed for a few days, and no one seemed to bother that we were overnight. BEWARE!!! On a falling tide the current (truly impressive!) runs perpendicular to the town dock. Getting off the dock is challenging, and we ended up with notable gelcoat scars! But I’d go back.
    Jack

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Georgia Anchorage Directory Listing For the St. Marys Waterfront Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To St. Marys GA

  • A Humorous Look at Florida Manatee Zones

    I have NOT stopped laughing since I first read this article!!! Many, many thanks to Captain Ames for allowing us to use his words and photos. They will bring smiles, possibly outright guffaws, to anyone who has ever cruised in the Sunshine State!!!

    THE SOCIALIZATION OF MANATEES
    by Captain Allen S. Ames

    SIGN READS: MANATEE ZONE – SLOW SPEED – MINIMUM WAKE WITHIN 300 FEET OF SHORE
    Once you get into South Florida, there are all kinds of “Manatee Zones”, restricting boat movement in one way or another. In truth, boats with their propellers can be fatal to the once-endangered manatees, but the reality is a bit more political, methinks.

    SIGN READS: MANATEE ZONE – 25 MPH OCT 1-MAY 31, 30 MPH JUN 1-SEP 30
    Note that the “Summer Manatees” must be more agile than the winter ones, since they apparently can avoid boats going 5 MPH faster. Note also that few people live in their winter “cottages” along the shore in summer.

    We have noticed in the past that manatees are upwardly mobile socially and tend to hang out off the very expensive mega-mansions and condos of the super-rich. There are far more manatee speed restrictions in these areas than off trailer parks and undeveloped land. (I refuse to believe that politics or payoffs would have had anything to do with these designations for the betterment of these lovely Rubenesque mammals.)

    SIGN READS: MANATEE ZONE – SLOW SPEED MINIMUM WAKE – WEEKENDS 7AM-7PM, NOV 15 THRU MAR 31 – 25 MPH ALL OTHER TIMES
    As upwardly mobile as these animals may be, there are still some areas where they can only afford to go on winter weekends. I haven’t yet read the research that shows how they learned to read calendars and clocks, but I am delighted that some government grant or other was able to furnish them the opportunity.

    SIGN READS: BOATING SAFETY ZONE – SLOW SPEED MINIMUM WAKE UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
    Some new signs are beginning to show up that weren’t in evidence two years ago. Do they signify a little less corruption in government and government-appointed employees or the simple fact that scientific research has shown that manatees are no longer endangered and that they better find another way to restrict the speed of boats off rich people’s winter homes? Next year, we expect that all the manatee signs will be replaced with ones that read:

    FILTHY RICH PEOPLE HABITAT – ANYONE THROWING A WAKE OF ANY SORT WILL BE SHOT

    I am not making this up! There are photographs of all the above signs in my
    blog at:
    http://preview.tinyurl.com/7rxcdyk

    Flagler County, Fl. is in the process of trying to make the entire ICW within their county a no-wake zone for the same issue’¦hope it fails!
    Bob Whitehurst

    Abolutley priceless! Thanks so much.
    Duane

  • Dismal Swamp Canal AICW Alternate Route vs AICW – North Carolina, Virginia Cut Route

    Friends Doing the Dismal

    Fellow nautical writer, Wally Moran, does a very nice job below of summarizing the attributes and demerits of these two alternate AICW passages that lead from Norfolk, VA to North Carolina waters, or the other way around. And, by the way, the text below is copied from Captain Wally’s new “LiveBloggin’ the ICW” site at:
    http://bloggingtheicw.blogspot.com/

    Will asked me about the two options heading south – the Virginia Cut and the Dismal Swamp. Great question.
    Friends doin’ the Dismal
    I prefer the Dismal Swamp – it’s wonderfully scenic, as you can see. Good protection from wind, and the stop at Deep Creek Lock to visit Rob, the lockmaster, is always a treat. Leaving the Dismal, you stop by Elizabeth City for a free night’s dockage and the cruisers’ welcome party each evening for a drink, and a rose for the ladies, a tradition started by two locals and now kept up by the city’s Chamber of Commerce.
    The only drawback is that the Dismal takes longer to run, and isn’t really feasible for boats drawing over six feet.
    The Virginia Cut brings you to Virginia City and the Great Bridge Lock, a marvel to see in and of itself, plus lots of fascinating tugboat and commercial traffic.
    I usually do one route on the trip down, and the other on the return, just to enjoy the best of both worlds. The one other proviso is if the exit from the route will permit me to sail on the Albermarle. There is enough distance between them to make a difference in how you trim your sails.
    Wally Moran

    Hi Claiborne ‘“ my blog showed dozens of unexpected hits today ‘“ so I looked at my stats and, sure enough, they were coming from here [SSECN]. Maybe you can encourage your readers to add to the list of the World’s Greatest Boating Songs ‘“ there will be prizes, such as copies of my video, Sailing South ‘“ First Timer’s Guide to the ICW, or Forbidding, Forbidden Cuba. Maybe I can get you to toss in a copy of one of your books? I refuse to give up my copy of your Florida guide, it’s a fun read.
    If anyone is curious, they can get a peek at the trailers for both videos at http://www.thesailingchannel.tv/icw or /cuba.
    Thanks again Claiborne. Tomorrow, off to start the ICW for the 18th time.

  • Possible Height Discrepancy at Wabasso Bridge, AICW, Statute Mile 943

    Wabasso Bridge-crosses the ICW at Statute Mile 943, southeast of unlighted daybeacon #80. Has anyone else noted less than charted vertical clearance as noted by Captain Mathias below. If so/not,please click the “Click Here to Submit Cruising News” link to the upper right, and share your information!

    This bridge is not 65′. We are sitting at high tide and the board shows 63 1/4′ with a .48′ total tide.
    Pete Mathias

    We passed through Wabasso 8 November 2011 with no problem. Our mast is 64.5 with another 3′ for the VHF antenna. The board indicated 64.4, the antenna didn’t touch.
    Della

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Wabasso Bridge

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Wabasso Bridge

  • Grounded Vessel in Tampa Bay

    This grounded sailing vessel is in Tampa Bay south of marker #6 in Gadsen Point Cut.

    FLORIDA-WEST COAST-TAMPA BAY-LITTLE MANATEE RIVER: Hazard to Navigation.The Coast Guard has received a report of a 30ft sailing vessel aground approximately 1 NM north of the Little Manatee River Entrance in position 27-44.339N 082-29.263W (27°44.3390N / 082°29.2630W, 27.738983 / -82.487717) . All mariners are advised to transit the area with caution. [Ref: STP BNM 1359-10] Chart 11416Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Grounded Sailing Vessel

  • Why I Do What I Do!

    It’s letters like this one from Captain Carr that make all this worthwhile!!!

    I would have really enjoyed traveling with you on that car trip from Wrightsville Beach to Georgetown. It’s amazing that when I met you at the first AIWA meeting Wrightsville Beach about 8-10 years ago, I had no idea as to the exacting up-to-date information you provide to the water travelers on the east coast. I enjoy reading your emails every [time] I get them.
    I especially appreciate the time you called me and explained about the rock hazards in the waterway from Little River to Socaste SC. I had just bought
    my boat and when I went to a Power Squadron meeting, the secretary told me to be careful in that part of the waterway. When I asked him about them at the next meeting he was unable to tell me where the hazard started or ended and I was really scared about damaging my boat…You actually
    called me after I emailed you, it was a godsend to get the correct information. You also told me a little about your Southport history which was interesting.
    Claiborne…if you need an assistant or traveling companion, I would certainly be willing to help you out. I would enjoy helping you out. You should write a book about the people you have met and your experiences with your endeavors…It would definitely make for some very interesting reading.
    Sam Carr
    Southport
    “Southern Stars”

  • HUGE VICTORY FOR THE CRUISING COMMUNITY – Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Sets St. Augustine Anchoring Limit at 30 Days (NOT 10 Days!)

    At approximately 1:00 pm today, 11/17/11, we received a telephone call from our very special Florida Keys Correspondent, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd. Charmaine passed along a detailed report on today’s FWC meeting in Key Largo, Florida, which had just adjourned. This gathering was called specifically to consider St. Augustine’s request for a 10 day anchoring limit on their corporate waters, outside the city mooring field.
    The only people to speak were Captain Charmaine, representing both BARR (Boater’s Anchoring Rights and Responsibilities) and the SSECN, Bonnie Bashem, representing Boat/US, and a representative from the city of St. Augustine.

    According to Captain Charmaine, the St. Augustine representative, as you would expect, requested approval of the already much discussed 10-day anchoring limit for the waters outside of the city mooring field, while both Bonnie and Charmaine argued for a longer time limit. In fact, Charmaine asked for a 90-day limit.

    The final result of the meeting was a DENIAL OF ST. AUGUSTINE’S REQUEST FOR A 10-DAY LIMIT, AND, INSTEAD, A THIRTY (30) DAY LIMIT WAS APPROVED. Vessels which want to anchor in St. Augustine waters for longer than 30 days must leave the corporate waters for at least 24-hours, and they can then return for another 30 days.

    Now, I know some will say there should be no anchoring time limit at all, and I, for one, am not about to argue against that point of view. HOWEVER, IN LIGHT OF WHAT 24 HOURS AGO APPEARED TO BE A VIRTUAL CERTAINTY THAT ANCHORING IN ST. AUGUSTINE WAS ABOUT TO BE LIMITED TO 10 DAYS, THE DENIAL OF ST. AUGUSTINE’S REQUEST, AND THE IMPOSITION OF A 30 DAY TIME PERIOD INSTEAD, MUST BE SEEN AS A HUGE VICTORY FOR THE CRUISING COMMUNITY!

    I might also add, that this decision shows me that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission IS keeping the needs of cruisers in mind, at least somewhat, as the process of approving local anchorage regulations for those communties (or counties) involved in the Pilot Mooring Field Program, goes forward!

    The cruising community owes of a HUGE debt of thanks to Boat/US and Bonnie Bashem, Captain Charmaine and the hundreds and hundreds of cruisers who have bombarded the FWC and the St. Augustine City Government with e-mails.

    However, the fight is most surely NOT over yet. There are still details to be worked out in St. Augustine, and there are four more Pilot Mooring Field Program sites for which anchorage regulations are yet to be approved.

    So, the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net’s advice is STAY VIGILANT! In the meantime, though, let’s all bask in this victory, for at least a few moments!

    As you might imagine, comments have been POURING in to the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net since the above article was published. So many, in fact, that we have had to establish a separate page so that everyone’s words can be displayed. Please click on the link below, and discover what your fellow cruisers have to say on this HOT topic:

    /?p=74985

    I have been contacted in the past month by a group whom are trying to stop the anchoring in Sarasota Bay. So heads up and look out for the next boom of protest to prohibiting boaters their rights.
    Captain Kat Luchene

    I agree that having to move your boat once every 30 days is a small inconvenience for boats cruising Florida waters compared to having to move it once every 10 days.
    For sailboats it is even less of an inconvenience. I am thinking that the captain who is anchored waiting to get a part shipped for his engine so that he can continue cruising his powerboat is at a disadvantage unless he can get a friendly tow.
    I too am fed up with abandoned boats sinking in our anchorages. Boats need to be stored on land and used on the water. Just as automobiles are not stored on public highways. http://www.gibsondrydock.com
    My Cal 2-29 is on a private mooring in the St Johns River. It is moved at least twice a month but seldom for a 24 hour period. That is the one aspect of this that has me in disagreement. I am more concerned that an anchored boat is being used by its owner than how long it has to be moved from its anchorage. If the owner is aboard once a month, leaves the anchorage and returns, problems may be corrected before the boat becomes a hazard.
    David Burnham

    Thank you for this very important and needed update!
    helmut g. kramer MD,MSc

  • No Free Pumpout at Jarrett Bay Marine Industrial Park, AICW Statute Mile 197

    Jarrett Bay Marine is located on the eastern shores of ICW-Core Creek passage, south of flashing daybeacon #19.

    Cruising News:
    Buyers beware! We were in need of fuel, water & a pump out on our way south on the ICW. We checked our BoutUS Member Services Guide for a convient location our our way to Beaufort, NC. We found that the Jarrett Bay Boatworks offered a free pump out and it was right on the way. Since we had been there several time on our way north & south, we decided to pull in for the works. Well, the works is what we got! They were busy hauling a large yacht and were told we wanted to pump it out ourself, that would be OK. We did and went to the fuel dock for diesel and water. When I went into the office to pay, I then found out that the charge for a pump out is $30.00!!!!! When my wife called them they said they never offered a free pump out and the book is incorrect. Needless to say, I got the “works” that day. But, they have also lost me as a fuel customer. Buyers Beware!
    Capt. Mike

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Jarrett Bay Marine

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Jarrett Bay Marine

  • North Yacht Basin Basin/Vinoy Basin Closed to Anchoring (Tampa Bay, Western Shore – St. Petersbrug, FL)


     Slips are now available!! On the brand new Dock 5. For information please call (727) 893-7329 or 800 782 8350

    St. Petersburg was selected some time ago as one of five sites for the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program. And, it was previously announced their mooring field would be located in the North Yacht Basin/Vinoy Basin, which borders on the northern side of the huge St. Petersburg Municipal Marina (A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR) and just south of the Renaissance Vinoy Resort Marina.
    It appears that construction is about to begin on this mooring field, and, consequently, the city of St. Petersburg is asking all the anchored vessel in the Vinoy Basin to leave.

    Cruising News:
    JUST GOT OFF THE PHONE WITH THE ST PETERSBURG HARBOR MASTER’S OFFICE. NO ANCHORING ALLOWED IN THE VENOY BASIN DUE TO “CONSTRUCTION”. AREA IS CLOSED TIL AFTER JAN 2012. MOORINGS ARE BEING PUT IN. QUESTION I WOULD LIKE TO ANCHOR NEARBY. ANY SUGGESTIONS???
    THIS BASIN IS NOW CLOSED TO ANCHORING TIL JAN 2012 . REASON GIVEN BY MUN MARINA IS `CONSTRUCTION’ NEW MOORINGS.
    WHERE ELSE CAN WE GO?? ANY IDEAS?? I AM HEADING THERE ON DEC 1?? THE `VENOY BASIN IS GREAT . WE LOST ANOTHER ANCHORAGE.
    CAPT. BILL O’MALLEY

    SEMI OFFICIAL PRICE IS $25/DAY. LIKE EVERYTHING THIS IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE BUT WAS WRITTEN UP FOR THE `PLAN’
    Bill

    Of course, one alternative is to dock at the St. Pete Muncipal Marina. This is one of the largest, and best managed city facilities it has ever been my privilege to review, and, as mentioned above, they are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR.
    There are some other anchorages available on central Tampa Bay’s western shores. I have listed links to those havens below. HOWEVER, none are anything like being as convenient and as close to good shoreside support as the Vinoy Basin.

    Little Bayou Southerly Anchorage:
    /?p=4836

    Little Bayou Northern Anchorage:
    /?p=4835

    Big Bayou Anchorage:
    /?p=4834

    Coffeepot Bayou Outer Anchorage:
    /?p=4832

    Coffeepot Bayou Inner Anchorage:
    /?p=4831

    Smacks Bayou Outer Anchorage:
    /?p=4830

    Smacks Bayou Mid Anchorage:
    /?p=4829

    Smack Bayou Inner Anchorage:
    /?p=4828

    Smacks Bayou South Side Anchorage:
    /?p=4827

    Well, I can answer one of Captain Bill’s questions below. To my knowledge, the ONLY ONE of the above described anchorages with dinghy dock access is the Big Bayou Anchorage. At the back of Big Bayou is a public launching ramp, where you can tie your dinghy off temporarily. And, as a plus, several GOOD restaurants are to be found within walking distance. In particular is Munch’s Restaurant (727-896-5972), one block south. Both breakfast and lunch (open 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) are terrific.
    Now for the bad news. I would not even begin to try and navigate a 7-foot draft vessel into Big Bayou! Captains piloting vessels drawing 5 feet or less, however, may find these waters a a good, or at least acceptable, alternative.

    THE COFFEEPOT AND SMACKS BAYOU ANCHORAGES ARE POSSIBILITIES W/ GOOD DEPTH IF U CAN GET TO THEM. THE CHARTS DO NOT SHOW A CHANNEL THAT CAN PROVIDE ACCESS FOR MY 7′ DRAFT. HAS ANYONE BEEN ABLE, WHERE AND WHERE CAN U GO ASHORE? IS THIS A CASE OF DELIBERATELY NOT PROVIDING ACTUAL DEPTH .
    Bill

    The FWC Pilot Program is supposed to improve water access ‘“ I fail to see how limiting anchoring is ‘˜improving’ access. This is another of the Florida anchorages we are losing due to this program.
    Wally Moran

    MAYBE DEMANS LANDING. SOUTH YACHT BASIN COULD BE USED TEMPORARILY. GOOD DEPTH, HOWEVER THE ST. PETE SAILING CLUB GOES IN AND OUT OF THERE REGULARLY, PARTICULARLY THE KIDS. MIGHT BE ABLE TO ANCHOR CLOSE TO THE BREAKWALL.
    Sam Warr

    Thanks Sam the South Basin has the depth but is the airport closeness a probem? i’ll try it. Thanks
    Bill

    We have anchored in the Vinoy Basin on and off since 1986 when we first came to Florida. We used to dinghy ashore to visit the museums, shops, and grab a bite to eat about 20 or 30 times a year. Frequently, our stays were just for the day allowing us to spend our money in town. Regretfully, we will now have to find a different favorite place to go.
    Eileen Colon

    There is a small anchorage just south of the mun marina at the Harborage Marina in downtown St. Pete at the location on this link: http://www.harboragemarina.com/location.php.
    No mooring balls; use your own ground tackle and dinghy to the marina or to a sand bar at the USFSP campus and walk to town. We live aboard at the marina. Good protection and depth and easy access to Tampa Bay and the ICW.
    Bart
    M/V DEWLAP
    DeFever 49 CMY

    What will the rules and rates be upon completion?
    Bruce W. Watters

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